President Trump Impeachment proceedings will now move to the Senate decide

For the third time in history, the House has voted to impeach the president of the United States.

On Wednesday night, the House voted to pass both of its two articles of impeachment brought against President Donald Trump. The first — one charging the president with abusing his power — passed 230-197, with two Democrats voting no. Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard voted present.

The second article the House adopted accuses Trump of obstructing Congress. The final vote was 229-198, with three Democrats voting no and Gabbard again voting present. Both are tied to the Ukraine scandal and Trump’s urging of the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter.

It has taken nearly a year to get to this point. While House Democratic leaders were at first extremely hesitant to wade into an impeachment inquiry, that changed when new revelations about Trump and Ukraine were raised. After a slow march toward opening a formal inquiry, House Democrats have finished proceedings before Christmas. Now, the process will move to the Republican-controlled Senate.

“Democrats did not rush to judgment, Democrats did not embrace impeachment at its first opportunity,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday, pointing out that the vast majority of House Democrats didn’t vote for earlier impeachment bills brought forward by progressive members. It was only after a whistleblower’s complaintbecame public and the Ukraine scandal broke that the tide turned, both for moderate Democrats and for leadership.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is seen in the Capitol during procedural votes related to the articles of impeachment on December 18, 2019. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Only two other US presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Richard Nixon resigned from office in 1974 before he could be formally impeached.

Few Democrats defected from their party; the dissenters included moderate Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ), who recently announced he plans to switch parties and become a Republican. Van Drew was joined by longtime moderate Rep. Collin Peterson (MN) and, in part, Rep. Jared Golden (ME), who voted for the abuse of power article, but against the article on obstruction of justice. Independent Rep. Justin Amash (MI), a former Republican, voted in favor of the first article of impeachment, and was invoked by Hoyer during a somber speech ahead of the first vote as someone beholden to neither party, and taking a purely principled stance.

Trying to extend the vote longer, many House Republicans chose red paper “no” ballots to be counted during the first vote, rather than the usual electronic method. But they weren’t alone; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi filled out her own green ballot signifying a yes vote, and brought it to the clerk.

Just because the House impeached Trump doesn’t mean he’ll be removed from office — in fact, it’s highly unlikely. At least 67 members of the Senate would have to vote to convict him on at least one of the impeachment articles for him to be ousted from the White House. It’s improbable that 20 GOP senators will vote against the president.

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